There’s so much to look forward to in our speculative fiction future. Here are some of the fantasy books we’re most excited about and/or are currently consuming…
Best New Fantasy Books in September 2019
The Mythic Dream
Type: AnthologyPublisher: Saga PressRelease date: 9/3/19
An all-new anthology of eighteen classic myth retellings featuring an all-star lineup of award-winning and critically acclaimed writers.
Madeleine L’Engle once said, “When we lose our myths we lose our place in the universe.” The Mythic Dream gathers together eighteen stories that reclaim the myths that shaped our collective past, and use them to explore our present and future. From Hades and Persephone to Kali, from Loki to Inanna, this anthology explores retellings of myths across cultures and civilizations.
Featuring award-winning and critically acclaimed writers such as Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, Rebecca Roanhorse, JY Yang, Alyssa Wong, Indrapramit Das, Carlos Hernandez, Sarah Gailey, Ann Leckie, John Chu, Urusla Vernon, Carmen Maria Machado, Stephen Graham Jones, Arkady Martine, Amal El-Mohtar, Jeffrey Ford, and more, The Mythic Dream is sure to become a new classic.
The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt
Type: NovelPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 9/3/19
The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt is a stunning contemporary fantasy debut about another London, a magical world hidden behind the bustling modern city we know.
Alice Wyndham has been plagued by visions of birds her whole life…until the mysterious Crowley reveals that Alice is an ‘aviarist’: capable of seeing nightjars, magical birds that guard human souls. When her best friend is hit by a car, only Alice can find and save her nightjar.
With Crowley’s help, Alice travels to the Rookery, a hidden, magical alternate London to hone her newfound talents. But a faction intent on annihilating magic users will stop at nothing to destroy the new aviarist. And is Crowley really working with her, or against her? Alice must risk everything to save her best friend—and uncover the strange truth about herself.
The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
Type: Thirteenth novel in October Daye seriesPublisher: DAWRelease date: 9/3/19
Now in hardcover, the thirteenth novel of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times-bestselling Toby Daye urban fantasy series!
Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.
When the Luidaeg–October “Toby” Daye’s oldest and most dangerous ally–tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can’t refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren’t the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg’s price…or face the consequences.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden’s brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that’s when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.
Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Type: NovelPublisher: Tor.comRelease date: 9/10/19
The Emperor needs necromancers.
The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.
Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.
Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.
Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.
Of course, some things are better left dead.
A Choir of Lies by Alexandra Rowland
Type: Sequel to A Conspiracy of TruthsPublisher: Saga PressRelease date: 9/10/19
A young storyteller must embrace his own skills—and the power of stories—to save a nation from economic ruin, in the standalone sequel to A Conspiracy of Truths.
Three years ago, Ylfing watched his master-Chant tear a nation apart with nothing but the words on his tongue. Now Ylfing is all alone in a new realm, brokenhearted and grieving—but a Chant in his own right, employed as a translator to a wealthy merchant of luxury goods, Sterre de Waeyer. But Ylfing has been struggling to come to terms with what his master did, with the audiences he’s been alienated from, and with the stories he can no longer trust himself to tell.
That is, until Ylfing’s employer finds out what he is, what he does, and what he knows. At Sterre’s command, Ylfing begins telling stories once more, fanning the city into a mania for a few shipments of an exotic flower. The prices skyrocket, but when disaster looms, Ylfing must face what he has done and decide who he wants to be: a man who walks away and lets the city shatter, as his master did? Or will he embrace the power of story to save ten thousand lives?
With a memorable cast of characters, starring a fan-favorite from A Conspiracy of Truths, and a timely message, Choir of Lies reminds us that the words we wield can bring destruction—or salvation.
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Type: Sequel to Carry OnPublisher: St. Martin’s PressRelease date: 9/24/19
Simon Snow is back and he’s coming to America!
The story is supposed to be over.
Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…
So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?
What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light.
That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West. They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place.
With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.
Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.
Best New Fantasy Books in August 2019
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
Type: First book in trilogyPublisher: Harper VoyagerRelease date: 8/6/19
Rin’s story continues in this acclaimed sequel to The Poppy War—an epic fantasy combining the history of twentieth-century China with a gripping world of gods and monsters.
The war is over.
The war has just begun.
Three times throughout its history, Nikan has fought for its survival in the bloody Poppy Wars. Though the third battle has just ended, shaman and warrior Rin cannot forget the atrocity she committed to save her people. Now she is on the run from her guilt, the opium addiction that holds her like a vice, and the murderous commands of the fiery Phoenix—the vengeful god who has blessed Rin with her fearsome power.
Though she does not want to live, she refuses to die until she avenges the traitorous Empress who betrayed Rin’s homeland to its enemies. Her only hope is to join forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who plots to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new republic.
But neither the Empress nor the Dragon Warlord are what they seem. The more Rin witnesses, the more she fears her love for Nikan will force her to use the Phoenix’s deadly power once more.
Because there is nothing Rin won’t sacrifice to save her country . . . and exact her vengeance.
Blood of An Exile by Brian Naslund
Type: First in a seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 8/6/19
First in the Dragons of Terra series, Brian Naslund’s Blood of an Exile is a fast-paced adventure perfect for comic readers and fans of heroic fantasy
Bershad stands apart from the world, the most legendary dragonslayer in history, both revered and reviled.
Once, he was Lord Silas Bershad, but after a disastrous failure on the battlefield he was stripped of his titles and sentenced to one violent, perilous hunt after another. Now he lives only to stalk dragons, slaughter them, collect their precious oil, and head back into the treacherous wilds once more. For years, death was his only chance to escape. But that is about to change.
The king who sentenced Bershad to his fate has just given him an unprecedented chance at redemption. Kill a foreign emperor and walk free forever.
The journey will take him across dragon-infested mountains, through a seedy criminal underworld, and into a forbidden city guarded by deadly technology.
But the links of fate bind us all.
Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan
Type: Set in Memoirs of Lady Trent seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 8/20/19
As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.
When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, Audrey must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.
Best New Fantasy Books in July 2019
Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton
Type: First book in trilogyPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 7/2/19
In his magnificent, heroic, adventure fantasy, Dragonslayer, Duncan M. Hamilton debuts the first book in a fast-moving trilogy: a dangerous tale of lost magics, unlikely heroes, and reawakened dragons.
Once a member of the King’s personal guard, Guillot dal Villevauvais spends most days drinking and mourning his wife and child. He’s astonished—and wary—when the Prince Bishop orders him to find and destroy a dragon. He and the Prince Bishop have never exactly been friends and Gill left the capital in disgrace five years ago. So why him? And, more importantly, how is there a dragon to fight when the beasts were hunted to extinction centuries ago by the ancient Chevaliers of the Silver Circle?
On the way to the capitol city, Gill rescues Solène, a young barmaid, who is about to be burned as a witch. He believes her innocent…but she soon proves that she has plenty of raw, untrained power, a problem in this land, where magic is forbidden. Yet the Prince Bishop believes magic will be the key to both destroying the dragon and replacingthe young, untried King he pretends to serve with a more pliable figurehead.Between Gill’s rusty swordsmanship and Solene’s unstable magic, what could go wrong?
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Type: NovellaPublisher: SagaRelease date: 7/16/19
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.
In the ashes of a dying world, Red finds a letter marked “Burn before reading. Signed, Blue.”
So begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents in a war that stretches through the vast reaches of time and space.
Red belongs to the Agency, a post-singularity technotopia. Blue belongs to Garden, a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter. Their pasts are bloody and their futures mutually exclusive. They have nothing in common—save that they’re the best, and they’re alone.
Now what began as a battlefield boast grows into a dangerous game, one both Red and Blue are determined to win. Because winning’s what you do in war. Isn’t it?
A tour de force collaboration from two powerhouse writers that spans the whole of time and space.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Type: NovelPublisher: Del ReyRelease date: 7/23/19
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Best New Fantasy Books in June 2019
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
Type: NovelPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 6/4/19
Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it.
Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life – or at least, she’s perfectly fine.
She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.
Ivy Gamble is a liar.
When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister―without losing herself.
Unraveling by Karen Lord
Type: Standalone NovelPublisher: DAWRelease date: 6/4/19
Dr. Miranda Ecouvo, forensic therapist of the City, just helped put a serial killer behind bars. But she soon discovers that her investigation into seven unusual murders is not yet complete. A near-death experience throws her out of time and into a realm of labyrinths and spirits. There, she encounters brothers Chance and the Trickster, who have an otherworldly interest in the seemingly mundane crimes from her files.
It appears the true mastermind behind the murders is still on the loose, chasing a myth to achieve immortality. Together, Miranda, Chance, and the Trickster must travel through conjured mazes, following threads of memory to locate the shadowy killer. As they journey deeper, they discover even more questions that will take pain and patience to answer. What is the price of power? Where is the path to redemption? And how can they stop the man—or monster—who would kill the innocent to live forever?
The Fire Opal Mechanism by Fran Wilde
Type: Second novella in the Jewel SeriesPublisher: Tor.comRelease date: 6/4/19
Jewels and their lapidaries and have all but passed into myth.
Jorit, broke and branded a thief, just wants to escape the Far Reaches for something better. Ania, a rumpled librarian, is trying to protect her books from the Pressmen, who value knowledge but none of the humanity that generates it.
When they stumble upon a mysterious clock powered by an ancient jewel, they may discover secrets in the past that will change the future forever.
Spine of the Dragon by Kevin J. Anderson
Type: First book in the Wake the Dragon seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 6/4/19
Two continents at war, the Three Kingdoms and Ishara, are divided by past bloodshed. When an outside threat arises―the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world―the two warring nations must somehow set aside generational hatreds and form an alliance to fight their true enemy.
The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Harper VoyagerRelease date: 6/11/19
From the bestselling author of the Sandman Slim series, a lush, dark, stand-alone fantasy built off the insurgent tradition of China Mieville and M. John Harrison—a subversive tale that immerses us in a world where the extremes of bleakness and beauty exist together in dangerous harmony in a city on the edge of civility and chaos.
The Great War is over. The city of Lower Proszawa celebrates the peace with a decadence and carefree spirit as intense as the war’s horrifying despair. But this newfound hedonism—drugs and sex and endless parties—distracts from strange realities of everyday life: Intelligent automata taking jobs. Genetically engineered creatures that serve as pets and beasts of war. A theater where gruesome murders happen twice a day. And a new plague that even the ceaseless euphoria can’t mask.
Unlike others who live strictly for fun, Largo is an addict with ambitions. A bike messenger who grew up in the slums, he knows the city’s streets and its secrets intimately. His life seems set. He has a beautiful girlfriend, drugs, a chance at a promotion—and maybe, an opportunity for complete transformation: a contact among the elite who will set him on the course to lift himself up out of the streets.
But dreams can be a dangerous thing in a city whose mood is turning dark and inward. Others have a vision of life very different from Largo’s, and they will use any methods to secure control. And in behind it all, beyond the frivolity and chaos, the threat of new war always looms.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
Type: NovellaPublisher: Tor.comRelease date: 6/18/19
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.
When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past―both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.
The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
Type: NovelPublisher: AceRelease date: 6/18/19
Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.
When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham is drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark.
But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, the more impossible the case appears. Then again, in Khelathra-Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms. Haas’ stock-in-trade.
Best New Fantasy Books in May 2019
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Tor.comRelease date: 5/7/19
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.
Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.
Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.
Empire of Grass by Tad Williams
Type: Second book in the Last King of Osten Ard series Publisher: DAWRelease date: 5/7/19
Set in Williams’ New York Times bestselling fantasy world, the second book of The Last King of Osten Ard returns to the trials of King Simon and Queen Miriamele as threats to their kingdom loom…
The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions.
Simon and Miriamele, royal husband and wife, face danger from every side. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers. But as the countries and peoples of the High Ward bicker among themselves, battle, bloodshed, and dark magics threaten to pull civilizations to pieces. And over it all looms the mystery of the Witchwood Crown, the deadly puzzle that Simon, Miriamele, and their allies must solve if they wish to survive.
But as the kingdoms of Osten Ard are torn apart by fear and greed, a few individuals will fight for their own lives and destinies—not yet aware that the survival of everything depends on them.
Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Legends, Edited by Paula Guran
Type: Short story collectionPublisher: Night ShadeRelease date: 5/14/19
Award-winning editor Paula Guran presents a diverse reprint anthology collecting classic myths and legends, retold by today’s top fantasy writers.
The Native American trickster Coyote . . . the snake-haired Greek Gorgon Medusa, whose gaze turned men to stone . . . Kaggen, creator of the San peoples of Africa . . . the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend . . . Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and beauty . . . Ys, the mythical sunken city once built on the coast of France . . . Ragnarok, the myth of a world destroyed and reborn . . . Jason and the Argonauts, sailing in search of the Golden Fleece . . . Myths and legends are the oldest of stories, part of our collective consciousness, and the source from which all fiction flows. Full of magic, supernatural powers, monsters, heroes, epic journeys, strange worlds, and vast imagination, they are fantasies so compelling we want to believe them true.
This new anthology compiles some of the best modern short mythic retellings and reinvention of legend from award-winning and bestselling authors, acclaimed storytellers, and exciting new talent, offering readers new ways to interpret and understand the world. Adventure with us on these Mythic Journeys . . .
Contributors include: Neil Gaiman, Ann Lecki, Yoon Ha Lee, and Ken Liu.
A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: BerkleyRelease date: 5/14/19
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose lives come together through destiny, love, and ambition.
In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count—and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.
Danio’s fate changed the moment he saw and recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one autumn night—intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger—and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.
Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.
A Brightness Long Ago offers both compelling drama and deeply moving reflections on the nature of memory, the choices we make in life, and the role played by the turning of Fortune’s wheel.
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
Type: Eleventh book in the Mercy Thompson seriesPublisher: AceRelease date: 5/14/19
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic. And a coyote shapeshifter. And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack. Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae. The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death. But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.
An Illusion of Thieves by Cate Glass
Type: Book one in the Chimera seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 5/21/19
A ragtag crew with forbidden magic must pull off an elaborate heist and stop a civil war in An Illusion of Thieves, a fantasy adventure from Cate Glass.
In Cantagna, being a sorcerer is a death sentence.
Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy’s aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life―and the price is her banishment.
Now back in Beggar’s Ring, she has just her wits and her own long-hidden sorcery to help her and Neri survive. But when a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies―a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother. And they’ll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.
Lent by Jo Walton
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 5/28/19
From Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning Jo Walton comes Lent, a magical re-imagining of the man who remade fifteenth-century Florence―in all its astonishing strangeness
Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.
It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It’s a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It’s a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It’s a miracle that, despite the Pope’s determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he’s still on the loose…and, now, running Florence in all but name.
That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who―or what―he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.
Best New Fantasy Books in April 2019
Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
Type: Third and final book in the Book of the Ancestor seriesPublisher: AceRelease date: 4/9/19
The searing conclusion of the thrilling epic fantasy trilogy that saw a young girl trained by an arcane order of nuns grow into the fiercest of warriors…
They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.
The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.
Nona Grey faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that she and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.
Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.
The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.
A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.
No Country for Old Gnomes: The Tales of Pell by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne
Type: Seconds book in the Tales of PellPublisher: Del ReyRelease date: 4/16/19
War is coming, and it’s gonna be Pell.
On one side stand the gnomes: smol, cheerful, possessing tidy cardigans and no taste for cruelty.
On the other side sit the halflings, proudly astride their war alpacas, carrying bags of grenades and hungry for a fight. And pretty much anything else.
It takes only one halfling bomb and Offi Numminen’s world is turned upside down—or downside up, really, since he lives in a hole in the ground. His goth cardigans and aggressive melancholy set him apart from the other gnomes, as does his decision to fight back against their halfling oppressors. Suddenly Offi is the leader of a band of lovable misfits and outcasts—from a gryphon who would literally kill for omelets to a young dwarf herbalist who is better with bees than with his cudgel to an assertive and cheerful teen witch with a beard as long as her book of curses—all on a journey to the Toot Towers to confront the dastardly villain intent on tearing Pell asunder. These adventurers never fit in anywhere else, but as they become friends, fight mermaids, and get really angry at this one raccoon, they learn that there’s nothing more heroic than being yourself.
In No Country for Old Gnomes, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly tweak the tropes of fantasy and fairy tales. Here you’ll find goofy jokes and whimsical puns, but you’ll also find a diverse, feminist, and lighthearted approach to fantasy that will bring a smile to your face and many fine cheeses to your plate.
All My Colors by David Quantick
Type: NovelPublisher: Titan BooksRelease date: 4/16/19
It is March 1979 in DeKalb Illinois. Todd Milstead is a wannabe writer, a serial adulterer, and a jerk, only tolerated by his friends because he throws the best parties with the best booze. During one particular party, Todd is showing off his perfect recall, quoting poetry and literature word for word plucked from his eidetic memory. When he begins quoting from a book no one else seems to know, a novel called All My Colors, Todd is incredulous. He can quote it from cover to cover and yet it doesn’t seem to exist.
With a looming divorce and mounting financial worries, Todd finally tries to write a novel, with the vague idea of making money from his talent. The only problem is he can’t write. But the book – All My Colors – is there in his head. Todd makes a decision: he will “write” this book that nobody but him can remember. After all, if nobody’s heard of it, how can he get into trouble?
As the dire consequences of his actions come home to both Todd and his long-suffering friends, it becomes clear that there is a high – and painful – price to pay for his crime.
The Unicorn Anthology by Peter S. Beagle & Jacob Weisman
Type: AnthologyPublisher: Tachyon PublicationsRelease date: 4/19/19
Unicorns: Not just for virgins anymore. Here are sixteen lovely, powerful, intricate, and unexpected unicorn tales from fantasy icons including Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, Patricia A. McKillip, Bruce Coville, Carrie Vaughn, and more. In this volume you will find two would-be hunters who enlist an innkeeper to find a priest hiding the secret of the last unicorn. A time traveler tries to corral an unruly mythological beast that might never have existed at all. The lover and ex-boyfriend of a dying woman join forces to find a miraculous remedy in New York City. And a small-town writer of historical romances discovers a sliver of a mysterious horn in a slice of apple pie.
Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse
Type: Second book in the Sixth World seriesPublisher: Gallery/Saga PressRelease date: 4/23/19
Kai and Caleb Goodacre have been kidnapped just as rumors of a cult sweeping across the reservation leads Maggie and Hastiin to investigate an outpost, and what they find there will challenge everything they’ve come to know in this action-packed sequel to Trail of Lightning.
It’s been four weeks since the bloody showdown at Black Mesa, and Maggie Hoskie, Diné monster hunter, is trying to make the best of things. Only her latest bounty hunt has gone sideways, she’s lost her only friend, Kai Arviso, and she’s somehow found herself responsible for a girl with a strange clan power.
Then the Goodacre twins show up at Maggie’s door with the news that Kai and the youngest Goodacre, Caleb, have fallen in with a mysterious cult, led by a figure out of Navajo legend called the White Locust. The Goodacres are convinced that Kai’s a true believer, but Maggie suspects there’s more to Kai’s new faith than meets the eye. She vows to track down the White Locust, then rescue Kai and make things right between them.
Her search leads her beyond the Walls of Dinétah and straight into the horrors of the Big Water world outside. With the aid of a motley collection of allies, Maggie must battle body harvesters, newborn casino gods and, ultimately, the White Locust himself. But the cult leader is nothing like she suspected, and Kai might not need rescuing after all. When the full scope of the White Locust’s plans are revealed, Maggie’s burgeoning trust in her friends, and herself, will be pushed to the breaking point, and not everyone will survive.
Best New Fantasy Books in March 2019
The Municipalists by Seth Fried
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: Penguin BooksRelease date: 3/19/19
In Metropolis, the gleaming city of tomorrow, the dream of the great American city has been achieved. But all that is about to change, unless a neurotic, rule-following bureaucrat and an irreverent, freewheeling artificial intelligence can save the city from a mysterious terrorist plot that threatens its very existence.
Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer. Soon, Henry and OWEN are fighting to save not only their own lives and those of the city’s millions of inhabitants, but also the soul of Metropolis. The Municipalists is a thrilling, funny, and touching adventure story, a tour-de-force of imagination that trenchantly explores our relationships to the cities around us and the technologies guiding us into the future.
The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore
Type: First book in the Chronicles of Ghadid seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 3/19/19
A novice assassin is on the hunt for someone killing their own in K. A. Doore’s The Perfect Assassin, a breakout high fantasy beginning the Chronicles of Ghadid series.
Divine justice is written in blood.
Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs.
Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed.
Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.
Miranda in Milan by Katharine Duckett
Type: NovelPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 3/26/19
With Miranda in Milan, debut author Katharine Duckett reimagines the consequences of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, casting Miranda into a Milanese pit of vipers and building a queer love story that lifts off the page in whirlwinds of feeling.
After the tempest, after the reunion, after her father drowned his books, Miranda was meant to enter a brave new world. Naples awaited her, and Ferdinand, and a throne. Instead she finds herself in Milan, in her father’s castle, surrounded by hostile servants who treat her like a ghost. Whispers cling to her like spiderwebs, whispers that carry her dead mother’s name. And though he promised to give away his power, Milan is once again contorting around Prospero’s dark arts.
With only Dorothea, her sole companion and confidant to aid her, Miranda must cut through the mystery and find the truth about her father, her mother, and herself.
Best New Fantasy Books in February 2019
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
Type: First in A Chorus of Dragons seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 2/5/19
Jenn Lyons channels The Kingkiller Chronicles in this epic fantasy debut that follows a boy thief called Kihrin as he goes from growing up in the slums of Quur to finding out he may be the long-lost son of a cruel prince to a slave to the potential key to a world-changing prophecy to a prisoner awaiting his death.
The Ruin of Kings is structured as a conversation between a prisoner, Kihrin, and his jailor, a shapeshifting demon named Talon. In their alternating chapters, they tell the story of how Kihrin came to be in prison, awaiting his potential death, and how the fictional world they are a part of includes gods, dragons, krakens, sorcerers, and more. Read our full review of this page-turning fantasy epic here.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Type: First in trilogyPublisher: Riverhead BooksRelease date: 2/5/19
It’s becoming more common to see fantasy worlds and stories that use something other than the western world as inspiration for a new fictional universe. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is one such book. Written by Marlon James, the author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, the novel follows Tracker, a man tasked with finding a missing boy. Though Tracker usually works alone, he teams up with some other hired help in his pursuit, becoming part of a team that has its fair share of secrets, leading to the biggest mystery of all: who is the boy and why have they been tasked with tracking him?
The screen adaptation rights for Black Leopard, Red Wolf have already been snatched up by Michael B. Jordan and Warner Bros., so get a head start on reading this book before the adaptation.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Type: NovellaPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 2/19/19
Set in an alternate Cairo in which humans live alongside otherworldly beings, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 follows Agent Hamed al-Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi. They work for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, tasked with dealing with any problems that might arise between the magical and non-magical folks. When the two agents are tasked with subduing a possessed tram car, they find it a much more complicated task than it first appears. I mean…. you know how it is.
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
Type: Standalone novelPublisher: OrbitRelease date: 2/26/19
Ann Leckie’s debut, Ancillary Justice, remains one of the most talked about science fiction novels (not to mention science fiction author debuts!) of the last decade. Leckie is back, with The Raven Tower, a fantasy story set in a land known as Iraden. Iraden has been protected for centuries by the god Raven, who appoints a human ruler to carry out his command. When the land is overtaken by attack and the Raven’s rule challenged, a warrior named Eolo works to restore the power of the throne to its rightful ruler. We will follow Leckie to any genre.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Type: First in trilogyPublisher: BloomsburyRelease date: 2/26/19
With whispers of “the Nameless One”—aka the scariest dragon of them all (OK, I’m in!)—returning after 1,000 years, Queen Sabran of the House of Berethnet is in danger of losing power. Things are further complicated by Sabran’s current lack of an heir. Luckily, Sabran has lady-in-waiting Ead Duryan on her side. Ead Duryan uses her secret powers to protect the queen. This tale of female warriors working to save the world may be long, but, from all accounts, is more than worth the commitment.
Best New Fantasy Books in January 2019
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
Type: Fourth in seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 1/8/19
Seanan McGuire’s brilliant Wayward Children novella series, which began with the excellent Every Heart a Doorway, continues in In An Absent Dream. Here, we learn the story of Katherine Lundy, the group therapy leader at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. As a child, the academic Katherine wanfers into the Goblin Market and immediately falls in love with this land of logic and reason. When Katherine realizes she will soon be unable to return to the Goblin Market, she makes a desperate bargain to keep her place in this world. #bewaretheconsequences
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
Type: Third in trilogyPublisher: Del ReyRelease date: 1/8/19
The Russian folklore-inspired Winternight trilogy comes to a close with The Winter of the Witch, which sees a medieval Russia in chaos, overrun by demons with Moscow working to recover from disaster. We continue to follow 17-year-old Vasya, a girl who can see and speak with spirits. As the country moves toward war under the rule of The Grand Prince, Vasya is guided into the midnight realm of Polunochnitsa, or Lady Midnight, where she meets her ancestors, the mythical firebird Pozhar, and a mushroom spirit called Ded Grib. While I have yet to read this trilogy, by all accounts this is a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic trilogy.
The Iron Codex by David Mack
Type: Second in Dark Arts seriesPublisher: Tor BooksRelease date: 1/15/19
While Midnight Frontwas set in the lead-up to and during World War II, The Iron Codex picks back up in the midst of Cold War paranoia in 1954, with Cade Martin chasing ghosts in Southeast Asia, Briet Segfrunsdóttir heading the Pentagon’s top-secret magickal warfare program, and Anja Kernova (with the help of a magickal book known as The Iron Codex) hunting fugitive Nazi sorcerers in South America. It all leads to Bikini Atoll, where the Castle Bravo nuclear tests are scheduled to begin…
Marked by S. Andrew Swann
Type: First in seriesPublisher: DAWRelease date: 1/15/19
I love a good supernatu
rally-charged backstory mystery! This one centers on Detective Dana Rohan, a cop with a near-perfect arrest rate who can’t remember how she got the mark on her back… the mark that allows her to travel through time and to alternate dimensions. The ability helps with her job investigating crimes, but when she is approached by a homeless man warning that the Shadows are coming, Dana is thrown into a much larger and even more dangerous multi-world adventure.
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Type: Second in trilogyPublisher: Harper VoyagerRelease date: 1/22/19
We were very into The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty’s 2017 fantasy novel about Nahri, a young woman living in 18th-century Cairo, and Ali, a prince living in the djinn city of Daevabad. In the first book, the two both struggle to stay alive, keep the ones they love safe, and use their power in moral ways—they are only partially successful. The Kingdom of Copper picks up five years later, and sees Nahri in a loveless and childless marriage with Ali’s older brother, and Ali in exile and presumed dead in the desert. A return to a fantastical world that is just as satisfying and complex (if not moreso) as the trilogy’s first installment.
What new speculative fiction books are on your radar? Let us know in the comments below or over at the Den of Geek Book Club!